January 22, 2015

On a Roll + A Few New Sewing Hacks

Recently I stumbled across a tiny remnant of fabric in a bin at Joann's. It was missing any kind of price label but I just had to have it.  After a bit of time trying to locate and negotiate a price (the piece also had a dirty spot) I brought it home for $3.00!!

From that little piece I made these:
After making these and putting them up for sale in my Etsy shop (CherylThimbleFingers)they immediately started getting a lot of views and favorites. If you aren't familiar with Etsy, this is a good thing.

So I started looking around to buy more.  The gray color is very classy in my opinion.  After searching the web awhile I identified it as Waves by Waverly. Dots seems more fitting but the dots are in a lovely wavy pattern. Also an advantage of this fabric is the reverse. It is just as nice as the face for this kind of use.

But even better than finding several sources is that this stuff comes in several other colorways.


Now I do try to be savvy about sales. Often, I feel, the item probably never was truly meant to sell at full price.  I saw it on another site at the same price as the sale with no mention of it being a deal. But I bought some from Joann's online because I qualified for free shipping.

The online site also showed me which stores were carrying which colors. Yesterday I picked it up in a lovely cocoa brown and I know there exists an orange and a yellow.

 But let's not get carried away yet.  It may come back to bite me. For the first time, I offered to make these in multiples to buyers and  I immediately had an order for NINE of the jewelry  rolls as bridesmaid gifts and just as I completed that order I sold another. Today I made up one in the aqua and champagne (I didn't know what to call this color), listed them on Etsy and they are getting views and favorites already.

Here are the 9 ready for sending off.

Now for the things I learned while making these.

#1. You don't always have to use a zipper foot to put in a zipper!

Changing feet drives me nuts. The one that came with my machine and snaps on quickly never lets me get close to an edge anyway.
My old one has to be screwed on and off which is a big time eater.

I have found that I can set the left edge of my regular foot against the coil and sewing very nicely down that line on the zipper.  When I get to the slider, I raise the presser foot and zip it closes and continue on.

Even if I sew it from the other side, the foot glides over the coil.  Now I know this will not work at all with a metal zipper.  Also this leaves a fair amount of zipper tape showing , but I like that.
          Here I am sewing the topstitching along the edge . See how nicely the coil guides my needle.

#2. That little metal stopper at the lower end of the zipper CAN be removed.  When sewing on this jewelry roll, that little bit of metal was getting hidden inside and was easily hit with the needle. BANG! Another broken needle!  I used a seam ripper to get in under it and discovered just three tiny teeth on each side are holding it on.

 Remove one side and roll it to the side and the other side pulls out fairly easily. Voila!
 This is the inside of the roll where all the work is.  The great fabric on the outside barely gets handled.

                   Now let's get rolling!  Another color will join these as soon as I find the perfect              fabric for the inside.  I can't find anything in my enormous stash of fabric.

On another note, are any of you gett ing crazy irrelevant comments. I am getting a lot that are like someone has copied and pasted from an encyclopedia!! I keep marking them as spam.  Wish I got REAL comments.

January 13, 2015

Frozen Fashion for Favorite

 This was perfect winter sewing except if you actually want to wear it.  I had the pattern and some of the fabric to give my favorite granddaughter* at Christmas but since it was a last minute request there was no time to stitch it up.

*I only have ONE granddaughter!
Here is the pile of fabric which was all bought online from various sources.

The pattern was also acquired online.
I have barely left the house.

The pattern was fine except if you wanted to do those crazy appliques.  They would have taken forever and I knew any kid would prefer the sparkle of this fabric.

The fake sequin bodice fabric is also see-thru and had to be backed with the blue satin. It was surprisingly easy to stitch through. I was sure the needle would get stuck in the shiny spots.

It has been years since I used such slippery
slide-y stuff, but it went quite well overall. The only hard parts were near the end. Why are the last steps of any project always the most fiddly?

The pattern called for bias tape to finish the neckline but I thought that it would look odd with this fabric and I wanted to make sure the scratchy snowflake fabric didn't rub. I made my own bias strip from the satin and covered the whole neckline with it.  I did a pretty bad job at the top of the zipper. I know. There should be a hook and eye there.

Even the zipper color isn't the best but I was determined NOT to buy one when I have a drawer filled with at least 100 zippers!
Here is her best royal wave. More practice needed.
My backdrop needed to be wider.

Most irritating of all to sew, and probably to wear is the sleeve set in.  I have been doing so many projects where I sew that seam before closing up the side and sleeve seam that I forgot what a pain it is and this fabric tended to ravel and the silver stuff doesn't allow the fabric to fold over easily.  This was especially difficult in hemming this stuff. It is all wavery  looking. That neckline might have layed flatter if I could press it properly, but I was afraid of melting it.

 Her modeling fees are quite steep so we were rushed to get this done.  That's the excuse for not doing a better job on the hair.  Oh well, a tiara can make up for a lot!

I think she looks every inch as good as Elsa. Hope the company that starts with D doesn't think I am committing copyright crime with this little pic. I am only advertising for them and not selling.

Doubtful this will get a lot of wear, but then washing it is probably not a good idea.  Sometimes sewing is just a labor of love, all practicality aside.

January 3, 2015

Starting Off on the Wrong Foot - Happy New Year?

Lots of sewing bloggers have done a recap of all the great things they made this year just to make me feel inadequate. So continuing in this downer mode I am going to tell you what a failure my latest project was. The weather outside today is a very cold hard rain which adds to my gloomy mood and the only brightness on this day is the glow off my computer screen. My sewing machine is banished to the opposite  unlit corner of the room.

I started of with this great vision of how I would make another wool handbag as lovely as this one.
EVERYTHING about this bag went well and I sold it immediately at a craft show after getting numerous "favorites" in my Etsy shop.

I loved working with wool for these two bags as well. 

I ordered some wool plaid online from MOOD and my first problem was that it was a much larger plaid than I thought ( my fault). It also smelled like WOOL!,  of course. So I spent time running it on air in the dryer with a dryer sheet. Then tried Febreze and then I just washed it and air dried it. Finally it was acceptably less sheep-like.

 Here are some steps in the building of the bag.  This shows an inside view no one ever gets to see.
 Here is a mistake I had to rip out.
                           Cramming all these thick layers under the presser foot was a drag.
 Then comes the birthing of the bag where you have to pull the whole thing back through the hole in the lining.
And that is when you see that what you had envisioned as a really classy classic bag is actually NOT!

After flipping it I had to do the top-stitching around the upper edge. Due to the thickness of the straps with piping the machine just went nuts and went into spasms leaving about a half inch unstitched and a few thread "bird nests" which I couldn't bring myself to photograph.

I had used a gray faux leather on my loved bag and it worked very well. The black vinyl (faux) not so much.  I made piping which looks great but a larger expanse is yucky.

It's the "Saggy Baggy" Bag.  The very stiff interfacing I used around the sides should have been used on the front and back to prevent the fold over tab with the enormous button from dragging it down. There is actually a magnetic snap under it. Too bad that I wasted it.

I do like the piping across the outer pocket and 
on the tab. Oh, I already said that. 

Well, I liked it so much that I decided I had to have more. Around the seams would have been nice but the thicknesses entailed would be too much.  I never
thought about it though when I added it to the strap which I made the same width as the bag side.      

What a beast this was to turn back right sides out. If I had made it narrow towards the center it would reasonably sit on a shoulder and not flare out as seen below.

Even this photo turned out bad. Where did those weird dots come from??
AND the plaid is not straight at this seam.

And speaking of photos, they are all wrong because the color is so off. I tried all kinds of settings which I really don't get.  Smart capture usually works fine for me in natural light.  Not one of these shows that this fabric is not a bright white and black houndstooth plaid with colored flecks BUT a dull beige - y white and black houndstooth plaid with colored flecks!!!
 I changed lighting, locations, settings and the white is still way too bright.

Oh well, I don't need great photos since this disaster is not going to appear in my Etsy shop.

I will probably cut it up and rework the elements into something else much smaller.

Some sewing bloggers call this a WADDER.

Any suggestions?